Convert San Juan vacant lots into parking spaces, get tax breaks

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 8) — Owners of vacant lots in San Juan City who would convert their properties into parking facilities will get tax breaks, Mayor Francis Zamora said.

Zamora told CNN Philippines’ The Source that owners of idle lands will be exempt from paying business taxes for up to five years when they convert their properties into parking spaces.

“It’s a win-win situation because it gives us more parking options, at the same time, the vacant lot owners can now have some income with their idle lands,” he said Thursday.

Zamora said they want to convert both public and private vacant lots into parking spaces to give motorists more parking options as they are no longer allowed to park on the streets due to the city’s push to clear road obstructions in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order during his State of the Nation Address.

Previously, San Juan allowed cars to park on the roads near Greenhills Shopping Center for a fee remitted to the city government. Zamora has suspended this, which will cause the city to lose around ₱2.5 million monthly in revenues.

“But what do you get in return?” Zamora said. “You get a better flow of traffic, you don’t spend time and gas uselessly and less stress for everyone.”

He said the now-banned parking spaces around Greenhills only serve 300 vehicles, while eight parking facilities near the shopping center can accommodate up to 4,000 cars.

The Interior department has ordered all mayors to remove all obstructions in local roads in a bid to decongest Metro Manila. They will be suspended if they fail to do this by the end of September.

Memorandum Circular 2019-121 states that streets under a mayor’s watch must be cleared from all types of blockages. These recovered roads must also be repaired and made passable by installing street names and lights.

Mayors must also come up with a road inventory and share their respective Local Roads Network Development Plans among themselves for coordination.

Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, who heads the League of Metro Manila Mayors, said all 17 members have pledged to comply.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) reported in 2018 that the Philippines is losing ₱3.5 billion a day due to traffic congestion in the metropolis. JICA, in a later study, said the country is also projected to lose ₱5.4 billion to traffic daily by 2035 if no interventions are made.